I love pie. I love family dinners that are so big your mom needs you to sit at the Ping-Pong table. I love stuffing and cranberries and sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top.
And, I'm thankful. For a zillion things, not the least of which are my family, friends, church, workplace, growth group, Target, and the experience of living and traveling overseas. Maybe next week I'll feel extra festive and make you a list.
But, I have a problem. If you read this last year, you got a hint of it, but seriously, people - can we talk about this?
Simon came home from school with a paper headdress. And I just don't get it. How that's okay. How we can celebrate a holiday by having our children dress up as a people group that were victims of having their land stolen, and eventual genocide?
The roots of this country are rife with injustice, and it gets increasingly difficult for me to gloss over holidays that don't take time to acknowledge that. I hate how angry this is sounding. I want it to sound light and be a little thought-provoking, but my true feelings keep leaking in to my words.
This summer, I read The Mayflower, and it kind of ruined the fourth of July for me. In a good way, I guess - an important way, if not a fun way. This year I was determined to not let Thanksgiving pass by without learning more about the beginnings of our country, especially around the first Thanksgiving. I forced Ben to watch this with me, and I'm sad.
I think I'm mostly sad we can celebrate without mourning. Thankfulness is good, but how can we be truly thankful for things which we are not willing to acknowledge the cost? The cost was not only in Pilgrim lives lost to hunger and the sea. The cost was that we built our country on a superiority complex, and that that would stick with us for generations, tainting relationships of all kinds.
The cost was that our most treasured values - freedom, liberty and justice for all - was founded on Freedom for Me, Liberty for Those Who Don't Threaten Me, and Justice for Some. The cost was that we fight for things that we feel like we earned, but that we didn't earn without guilt.
I am thankful, but I'm also sad. This week will be busy - full of travels and packing and really festive meals together with people I love the most. We will celebrate and we will enjoy the little things. But, my hope is that I'll take the time to keep learning about Native American history and the Trail of Tears. I hope that I'll let myself feel sad at what went wrong.
I'm not suggesting that a moment of silence before eating turkey is the answer or that it would fix anything. What bothers me is not that we celebrate thankfulness or that we're happy about our blessings, but how our cultural folklore has erased the things that taint our history. My fear is that as we glorify such folklore we subliminally teach our kids and assure ourselves that the noble beginnings (people fleeing religions persecution) or the happy ends (a free society) justify the means.
Ok, I'll stop. I'm sorry for being a downer. The Indian headdress made out of xerox paper pushed me over the edge.
Comments are open, so go ahead and tell me what you're thinking!